Welcome to the first edition of “PoGo People Spotlight,” where we delve into the stories and experiences of the passionate individuals driving PoGo’s mission. In this series, we uncover the driving forces behind PoGo’s commitment to revolutionise the EV charging industry.
Today, we introduce you to Stuart Douglas, the Managing Director of PoGo, as he shares his insights, journey, and vision for the future.
Make sure to watch the video interview with Stuart at our new Derby site, where he delves into PoGo’s mission, our commitment to enhancing the customer experience, and our role in driving the adoption of EV vehicles in the UK.
Role and Experience
Can you tell us a bit about your role at PoGo?
PoGo’s ambitions are very clear, deploying high volumes of ultra-rapid chargers in strategic locations throughout the UK to support the adoption of electric vehicles. My role is to support and enable our teams and departments to deliver this. Because we are in a high growth phase, this means there is a great deal of focus on people, process, and structure right now – ultimately, we are setting up for a very busy 2024 and 2025!
What previous experiences or skills do you bring to the team that you find valuable in the EV industry?
I love challenging the status-quo and invoking change, and I enjoy seeing things happen very quickly. I’m not sure you can define it as a skill, but I enjoy working at pace and instilling this culture into the teams and businesses I work with.
Are there any specific projects or initiatives you’re particularly proud of?
We recently agreed our largest single deal, which will see us deploy more than 300 ultra-rapid chargers across key retail locations in the UK. I am, of course, delighted that we were successful with this bid, but I am actually proud of the way in which multiple teams and people came together and collaborated to deliver this piece of work. From my perspective, you can have the biggest budgets and the best products in the world, but if you don’t have great people then you can’t achieve all that much.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your work in the EV field, and how do you overcome it?
The EV sector is still in its infancy. There is a lot of emerging regulation and differing demands and expectations from different groups. We of course need to address and meet legislative requirements, and additionally make every endeavour to meet the demands of driver groups and guidance measures where practically possible. This is often easier on ‘green field’ sites but can often be challenging when faced with existing site layouts, covenants, and landowner commitments.
What sets your team and company apart in the competitive EV industry?
We are very flexible and dynamic. This means we make decisions and commitments quickly, and once we are in that all-important deployment phase we can move unbelievably quickly thanks to our stock-holding strategy and our experienced in-house services (Project Management, Site Design, Electrical Design).
Passion for EVs
What inspired you to work in the EV industry, and what excites you the most about it?
I have always been attracted to new technology, it’s exciting, and it’s always nice to come to work and explore new products and services. The rapid growth of the sector also brings frequent and varied challenges, and this is something that I am naturally drawn to.
What EV do you drive, and what do you love about it?
I currently drive a Tesla. I love the app and the ability to pre-condition and schedule. My children (Mia & Edie) love the light show of course!
Have you embarked on any memorable EV road trips?
When we opened Southgate Retail Park, I drove up there in an effort to take the first charge from our 200kw ultra-Rapid chargers. I drove there on a single charge and was completely reliant on taking a charge from the site on its opening day. It of course worked brilliantly (never a doubt in my mind!) and I drove home feeling full of energy and enthusiasm thinking about the 100’s of PoGo sites that are due for delivery in 2024.
Do you have any tips or recommendations for new EV drivers to make the most of their electric vehicle experience?
Really, really, easy – plan your trip and you will have a much more comfortable and positive EV experience. Infrastructure is being deployed so quickly now that soon you won’t ever be too far away from a charger, but it’s still a good idea to plan the stops that are most convenient for you.
What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities in the EV industry today?
There are so many different technologies, manufacturers, and back-office systems delivering EV charging in the UK. Consistency and ease of use across so many products may be a challenge for the public, and the opportunity here is for guiding bodies, such as the British Standards Institution (PAS guidance) and ChargeSafe, and roaming services, such as Paua and Zap-Pay, to provide a consolidated service for all.
What developments or trends in EVs are you most excited about for the future?
Autonomous driving. Not strictly an EV only technology, but one that is related through the emergence of Tesla’s technology. I am really excited to see if, when, and how this technology will come through.
Can you highlight key milestones that PoGo aims to achieve in the near future?
I am excited about seeing our 100th ultra-rapid charger deployed in the field. The entire business has worked really hard in the second half of 2023 to refine and accelerate our processes, and this will take us from a relative standing start to a really impressive pace during the early months of 2024. This will then be followed by a huge milestone when we get to our 500th ultra-rapid charger deployed towards the end of the year.
When you’re not immersed in the world of EVs, what do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
I am a keen mountaineer and recently made my way across Crib Goch up to the Snowden Summit, Everest is an ambition that I’m not sure will ever be met. I’m also a keen sports fan and enjoy the challenging (and rarely rewarding) game of golf when time allows.
What’s your favourite aspect of working with the PoGo team?
The desire to achieve our mission. I have absolutely no doubt that PoGo will emerge as a major charge point operator in record time, and I can see that every single person in our business is striving to achieve that together. The collaboration and cross-departmental support is actually very special.
Is there an EV-related book, podcast, documentary or online resource that you would recommend to someone interested in learning more about this field?
I really enjoyed the Elon Musk biography, and Liz Allan’s podcasts have offered a broad insight into many parts of the EV industry. Give them both a try!
Stay tuned for future editions of “PoGo Spotlight” as we continue to unravel the journeys and insights of the PoGo team, bringing you closer to the heart of our mission to redefine EV charging.